آیا برنامه ریزی استراتژیک می تواند باعث وابستگی بیشتر استراتژی و ایجاد تعهد در طول زمان گردد؟ مورد RACC(باشگاه رویال خودرو کاتالونیا)
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|28500||2008||18 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9544 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Long Range Planning, Volume 41, Issue 3, June 2008, Pages 273–290
This paper illustrates that the way a company approaches strategic planning has major implications on the development of strategy. Lessons are inductively derived from the evolution of strategic planning at RACC automobile club. This case shows that the planning process is a powerful tool in the hands of management. Active participation in the process can contribute to middle managers' awareness of key principles, issues and goals. It also assists them to make strategy relevant, and to prepare their minds for necessary adaptations during the implementation stage. Strategy, conceived as a shared framework in the mind of all strategists, is a strong glue that can align the organization around a chief purpose. The case study shows that an upfront, clear definition of the purpose for the planning process has a major say in the ultimate outcomes that the firm reaches.
Is it preferable that a manager meets a given plan as it was initially approved, or that the same manager is capable of changing the plans according to a given strategy? The answer depends on what the organization sees as the purpose of strategic planning and its reason for articulating a strategy in the first place. The existence of a strategic plan per se does not necessarily lead to a relevant strategy. 1 In their criticisms of planning, Mintzberg and Simon claim that the link between strategy and strategic planning may be vague or even non-existent. 2 Still, many companies find that how they conceive of strategy and their approach to strategic planning has a major impact on the usefulness of what results from the process. In our view, strategic planning that guides discussion among managers at different levels, can play an important role in stimulating the collective process for shaping the development of common goals and priorities. Adopting that perspective, the purpose of this paper is to describe how the planning process of a single firm, Reial Automòbil Club de Catalunya (Royal Automobile Club of Catalonia), serves to establish a common understanding and commitment to strategy among the firm's managers over time. Our contribution is to draw key lessons from this revelatory case. Approaching strategic planning as a system for building shared understanding and commitment sounds appealing. At a minimum, when accomplished, such shared understanding and commitment leads to co-ordinated implementation and operational integration. Strategic planning would then connect desired outcomes of the strategy process, such as setting direction, creating flexibility and providing meaning. In doing so, it would fulfil a need of integration. Yet, the dominant notions of strategy,3 (positioning choices, a vision, a pattern of decisions, or maps of value propositions) provide only partial responses to practitioners' requests to make strategy a useful tool for managers at different layers within the firm. We believe that the core of the problem may lie in the failure to capture the multi-faceted character of strategy and the need to connect different aspects of the strategy development process. Fundamental to this problem, translating strategy into managerial action requires common understanding of strategy and its underlying logic.4 That is, the process of building collective understanding must co-ordinate direction-setting, establish clear priorities and convey meaning, hence, helping guide subsequent actions. Traditionally, however, planners have focused mainly outside the firm, underrating organizational, behavioral and cognitive factors within the firm. Even when emphasis has been given to internal factors, it has come at the expense of a focus on the external aspects of the firm, and rarely has a feasible way been proposed to integrate these key ingredients.5 The demands on firms and management teams require balancing these different purposes and requests, while adapting the process to continually changing circumstances. Ocasio and Joseph, in this issue, state that “planning practice cannot remain static, but must evolve to facilitate changes in corporate agenda.”6 This paper reports findings from a longitudinal case study focused on how strategic planning at RACC has changed both in methodology and purpose over time. It evolved from a basic mechanistic approach into a radically different approach that emphasises goal setting, collective deliberation and balancing aspects of the planned and emergent approaches to strategizing.7 The analysis of the case sheds light on the relationship among distinct components of a planning system and how their interdependencies change as strategic planning is transformed to meet different purposes. Over time, the company has changed the nature of top management intervention and placed an increasing emphasis on the role of middle managers.8 More importantly, changes in the process seem to be driven by more mature responses to the central issues of why the company wants a strategy in the first place. Especially, the study shows that a firm's approach to strategic planning influences prospects for successful implementation. In short, the case is a useful illustration of an effective approach to various issues in contemporary planning practice. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. First, we provide a brief overview of the literature on strategic planning. We then describe the case study's initial conditions and its evolution over time. This is followed by an explanation of how we have interpreted the planning evolution within RACC. Finally, we close with a discussion of implications for practice and theory.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Over the last decade or more, the academic literature has downplayed the importance of formal planning. During this same period, however, practitioners have kept exploring new alternatives to make strategic planning a useful management tool. The case of RACC illustrates that significantly different approaches can be crafted with the potential to deliver desired results. While the process did not advance without problems, and we are not able to trace the direct links between planning and performance, RACC seems to have benefited from its strategic planning system in a number of ways, as a result of making middle managers more aligned with strategy. RACC has been able to reshape this management system to provide meaning to middle managers while retaining flexibility for subsequent implementation efforts. In so doing, it also served its ultimate goal of making strategy relevant to the daily activity of the firm. Put differently, it seemed to reach a balance between a broad search for options and stabilization, when a course of action was determined.19 The outcomes at RACC are very much in line with what authors such as Mintzberg, Pascale and Ghoshal claim that a strategic planning system should do, i.e. create strategy, share knowledge, build consensus, establish commitment to action down the ranks and retain flexibility for change when circumstances demand it. This suggests that the debate should not be based on whether or not strategic planning adds value, but on how strategic planning is carried out in a way that serves corporate purposes, and why. The case study shows that an upfront, clear definition of the purpose for the planning process has major implications on the outcomes that the firm reaches in the aftermath. Top managers tend to have high expectations about what the planning process can deliver. For a large number of companies, the purpose of planning is to elaborate plans and get commitment around budgets. This seems to be at odds with current times. A key question a company has to address when approaching the strategy-making process is, again, why it wants strategy in the first place. The response to this question will have major implications for the best way to approach planning. At RACC, the CEO and his team had high ambitions. They wanted strategy to be a useful tool to guide daily action, and they wanted it to be related to key goals. Yet, the executive team was very careful about its interventions throughout the process. Top management adopted a gradual approach to develop new competences (especially strategic thinking at all levels involved). It also made each move with a realistic assessment to commit to results that the executive team could deliver. Conceptual developments built on but deviated from conventional thinking on how to develop strategy. The issue of making a sound use of strategy for managers raises a number of concerns for further debate. Conversations with practitioners suggest a broad list of salient issues, yet this research only attempts to identify them as extended issues on the topic, providing limited and only tentative insights for a few of them. Some of these questions are: is it more effective to build this shared understanding on the basis of purposes (goals and objectives) or commitments to specific courses of actions (such as plans and budgets)? How do unexpected events affect the robustness of this shared understanding? What criteria should be enforced for people to understand the best way to balance commitment, flexibility and execution? In all, these questions are extensions of describing how the planning processes can evolve to develop strategy and commitment. An important issue that emerges from RACC's transformation of strategic planning is that the method for developing strategy evolved over time. This arises as a result of initiating a new thought exercise and the challenge at hand in competence development. In 2000, for the first time, RACC conceived strategy as a shared framework in the mind of strategists, because management saw the strength of using strategy as a nexus that can integrate efforts and co-ordinate action. The approach was to build a broad common understanding of critical issues and priorities, and making commitments on goals to ensure goal alignment, yet to provide flexibility to adapt to unexpected changes. In so far as managers carried strategy in their head, the task of linking it with policies for daily action at lower levels was significantly facilitated. Over time, the company has fine-tuned strategic planning to make further progress in enabling strategy implementation and organizational change. Although the company may call it strategic planning, the strategic exercise it develops is dramatically different from the conventional notion found a decade ago in business press articles such as BusinessWeek.27 While there is nothing unique about RACC's circumstances that would prevent other companies from following a similar route, there were a number of factors that made this route possible. First, RACC was willing to explore new ways for planning to add value. As Kaplan and Beinhocker claim, when repositioned as a learning process, formal strategic planning can help managers make solidly-grounded strategic decisions in a world of turbulence and uncertainty.15 Second, top management has to be very perceptive in order to understand the aspirations of individuals within the organization and to synthesise these into a joint organizational purpose. Third, if strategy is conceived as a general guideline that must be shared, then an ad hoc process focusing on working with people, hands on, needs to be designed. Active and fair participation is a must to build commitment and shared views throughout. The combination of perceptive top managers and participating middle and lower levels is a trait that should be considered when designing any planning exercise, as the contributions on middle managers' involvement in the strategy process recognizes. This study sheds some light on the debate of the emergent versus the planned approaches as it suggests that RACC used both a formal and an emergent strategy. Strategy was formalized since it came out of the regular strategy development process (in this case undertaken once every three years, with annual reviews). Yet, it also allowed and actually used an emergent approach. Managers at different levels in the organization could deviate from the previously-agreed plans and projects to propose and implement new initiatives with the attempt to capture better the core of shared goals. This was in light of changes in the market so that alternative plans could capture the shared goals better than those plans put forward initially. Changing circumstances tend to make specific commitments, such as concrete plans and budgets, more fragile than shared priorities and goals.24 This is coupled with the fact that a common ground of purposes and objectives is a more effective mental glue for people than a strict set of action plans. At the core of managerial implications is the notion of ideal versus possible strategy. Also, the time horizon should be long enough to leave room for a fresh ideal to unfold a picture of the desired future that is not constrained by the company's current position. Organizations that pursue regular annual plans are likely to develop their budget rather than truly shape new strategies. Only a gap between aspirations and reality is expected to trigger novel approaches. While the concept of an ideal picture of the future has been put forward in the literature, this research sheds some light on how a company used and developed it. As a closing remark, successful business strategies result, not from rigorous analysis, but from a particular state of mind. The essence of strategy-formation is not to create plans, but to build a shared framework in the minds of strategists. Given the persistence of change, it may be that in the near future, in strategically-managed firms, good managers will not be those people who meet the plans, but those who are capable of changing plans according to strategy. Middle managers at RACC were eager to jump into the next strategy exercise. Strategy is as central and relevant to them as much as it is to their CEO.